Just the other day, a professor asked me what did I enjoy the most during my time here, and I jokingly told that individual that I would respond later. I thought about the best classes I took, my personal achievements, and my professional experience. But, when thinking retrospectively, my favorite part about Seattle University is that it highlighted the value of people, especially those around me. During my freshman year, I was not that involved. I had a good group of friends, but my extracurricular involvement was lacking. I joined one club, and went to two meetings. To say I was in that club would be an understatement, and I was ready to transfer from Seattle University after my freshman year from my perceived lack of opportunities. However, my sophomore year and on was when I finally started becoming involved. I joined more clubs, became involved in residential life, played on some terrible intramural teams, and became more involved in my business classes. My grades started getting better. My professional development soared. Most importantly, I met a large number of unique individuals, and recognizing their uniqueness only strengthened my understanding of myself. As you can tell, I didn’t transfer.
What I enjoyed most is that I could get a quality education, while meeting the people who were here with me. Approximately 4,700 undergraduate students are enrolled at Seattle University, and not many campuses have the same luxury of this small community where you can connect with more people. At larger universities, a common psychological phenomenon is Barry Schwartz’s Paradox of Choice, where a larger abundance of people might actually lead you to meet less of them due to choice paralysis. A close friend of mine that recently graduated from UW told me that she would meet people and never see them again in the sea of students. I’m happy to say that I cannot relate to that at all. We all share the same classrooms, Cherry Street, library, and most importantly, friends. I never met someone new, who didn’t have a mutual friend, and I think the small community here enriched my experience more than anything.
So, my biggest advice to freshmen is that you’re going to create your circles, but you should expand them as soon as you can. As busy as you are, go to that club meeting you’ve been pushing off. As much we hate them, create group texts to hangout. As much as you might get nervous, go meet that person sitting across from you. Meet these people because you’re going to see them around for the next four years, and for a select few, even longer. And if you don’t know where to start, my inbox is always open.
Chisup Kim | New Student Mentor